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Which Dog Breed is Right For Your Family?

Are you looking for the best dog breed for your family?

This often happens after you see a great movie featuring an adorable and loyal dog performing deeds of daring-do. Next thing you know, you’ve adopted a new family member. Sometimes your household has gained a loyal friend for years. But in most instances, parents and children are in over their heads. They come home to chewed shoes, shredded couch cushions, high food and vet bills, and disappointment.

If your family still wants to adopt a new canine friend, you should know what to expect. To help you avoid some of the headaches, we’ve listed some of the best dog breeds for families and the time and money you’ll need to invest so you can have a Hollywood ending with your new pet.

Golden Retrievers

This breed doesn’t play basketball in real life, but if you can invest the time to walk and train with a Golden Retriever, then you’ll find the Air Bud pooch is one the best dog breeds for families. One of the smartest canines, these devoted light-haired dogs are confident companions when they have steady companionship and proper obedience training. They’re calm and get along well with children and other pets.

And training a golden retriever can be fun because it’s a dog that takes pleasure in pleasing its owner, making it a perfect breed for your family. But if it doesn’t receive the stimulus it needs, these big dogs can become neurotic, which means you’ll probably come home to some torn pillow cushions and teeth marks in your favorite shoes. Because they’re also a sporting breed, so golden retrievers do need to go out for long walks or runs once daily. They also enjoy games of catch, so make sure your schedule can accommodate them.

If you’re looking for a breed to protect your house, the golden retriever will bark loudly if a stranger approaches, but don’t expect it to be too protective. And despite being prone to illness, the average life expectancy of a golden retriever is 10 to 12 years, which means they will be a beloved member of your home for a long time.


This adorable mix between a Labrador Retriever and a poodle has been the preferred pet of many Hollywood celebrities, but does that mean it’s one of the best dog breeds for families? If someone in your household suffers from allergies triggered by canine dander, then Labradoodles are worth a look. Some dogs in this breed have a coat with the same hypoallergenic properties as their poodle parents, and many don’t shed. However, they do require a lot of grooming.

But as cute as they mop-haired dogs are, they do have their share of health problems. Furthermore, Wally Conron, the Australian who claims to have invented the breed, said on the podcast Sum of All Parts that he “released a Frankenstein monster.” And while many were furious over Conron’s remarks, some groomers and professionals agreed with him.

But families have found Labradoodles easy to train and friendly around children. They’re good at watching out for strangers, but don’t expect them to guard your home very well. But much like the Golden Retriever, they do require a lot of attention and time outdoors to exercise, or they will lash out. They are also prone to food allergies, so it could take some time (and money) to find a diet they can tolerate.


Yellow Labradors became hugely popular because of the movie adaptation of the bestselling book Marley & Me. But no matter if your labrador is yellow, chocolate, or black, you should be prepared for the same rowdy behavior that causes so much frustration (and laughter) for the couple in the film.

While the labrador is one of the best dog breeds for families, they are diggers, so they will frequently bring in dirt and germs from outside. Also, if you have young children in your home, you’ll want to supervise how the dog acts around them. While they don’t mean any harm, young Labradors are clumsy and can knock over toddlers on accident.

And unlike Marley, labradors are highly trainable dogs. However, they do get anxious when they are away from their owners, so you may find yourself heading home on your lunch break to keep your new friend company. Labradors also require a lot of exercise, so you’ll be getting to know your neighbors as you’ll be walking your dog frequently.

If you’re allergic to pet dander, then a Labrador probably isn’t the dog for you. Their coat is not hypoallergenic, and they frequently shed, so you’ll be vacuuming a lot. Among many other health issues, labradors often suffer from heat exhaustion, so be careful when playing with your pup during the blistering Phoenix summer.


Speaking of movies, 101 Dalmatians is a great family film. The spotted dogs are also known as firehouse mascots, so young boys and girls love this brave breed. But is the canine one of the best dog breeds for families?

Much like Pongo and Perdy, the dalmatian parents from the Disney movie, the breed is intelligent and can be trained easily. They love pleasing their owners and are friendly with children, but much like the labrador and golden retriever, dalmatians can get easily bored. If not given enough stimulation and exercise, they’ll let you know with a deafening bark and lashing out with some destructive behavior. And because they’re full of energy, dalmatians are not ideal pets for apartment dwellers. They jump around a lot.

But don’t let the breed’s short hair fool you. Dalmatians shed a lot. Others might not hear your commands because they are hard of hearing or deaf. Dalmatians do have their share of health problems, so your vet bills could get a little high. Some dalmatians are strong-willed and stubborn. These traits are a good thing if your dog is trying to escape the clutches of Cruella de Vil but might be trouble when choosing the best dog breed for your family.

Belgian Malinois

The 2015 movie Max showed how important and popular the Belgian Malinois breed is to the military and first responders. In the film, the titular dog befriends the brother of his U.S. Marine handler, who died in battle. But does this touching story between a boy and his dog mean that a Belgian Malinois is the best dog breed for your family?

Because the breed is known primarily as scouting dogs, so they’re popular among military and police personnel to find narcotics and explosives. As you can imagine, the Belgian Malinois is intelligent, but they can be a challenge to train, so if you’ve never owned a dog before, this probably isn’t the breed for you. They require an owner who can make time to challenge them physically and mentally to help build loyalty and teach them that other people and dogs are not threatening to them when they approach their territory. Avoid neglecting them for long periods of time, or they will lash out. If you have small children, you may not have the time or the temperament to handle training a Belgian Malinois and raising a child.

Belgian Malinois are a generally healthy breed. They do shed, and their double coat allows them to adapt to a range of temperatures, which makes the dogs perfect for the Phoenix weather.

German Shepherd

When Max came out in 2015, many fans mistook the film’s star for a German Shepherd, not a Belgian Malinois. The confusion is understandable. Both breeds are popular in service work and have a double coat in similar colors, but German Shepherds serve more as guide dogs than with first responders. And they are one of the smartest breeds, but are German Shepherds one of the best dog breeds for families?

German Shepherds are loyal to owners and their families and will run through a fire to protect them. But like the Belgian Malinois, they need proper training and a lot of exercise and socialization from their owners to earn that loyalty. If they don’t receive that stimulation, they become shy, unresponsive, and may lash out as a result. These dogs have their share of health problems and can also shed quite a bit, so if you or a member of your family are prone to allergies, this might not be the dog for you.

Next Steps

If you’re looking for the perfect dog for your family, the experienced staff at Desert Sky K9 can help you find the breed that fits your lifestyle. Our licensed and certified trainer Mark Govoni has over 27 years of experience and can assist you with your training needs. 

To schedule your complimentary one-on-one meet and greet consultation with our award-winning trainer, please call us at 602-510-5877 or fill out our form. We’ll see you soon.

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